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              导读:第一代电子书并没有取得预期的成功,然而随着技术的进步,新一代电子书产品逐渐浮出水面  。继苹果公司取得巨大成功,令便携电子产品风行一时后,索尼公司利用数字墨水技术推出新款图书阅览器,将目光瞄准电子书市场  。其它电子阅读器生产商也不甘落后,纷纷推出带有各自特色的产品  。本文向读者介绍了电子阅读器产品的最新动态,以及出版商、作家和消费者对这种新生事物的态度  。可以想象,电子书时代已经离我们不远了  。(选自 Business Week, 2006)

              Richard D. Warren, a 58-year-old lawyer in California, is halfway through Ken Follett's novel Jackdaws. But he doesn't bother carrying around the book itself. Instead, he has a digital version of Follett he reads on his Palm Treo each morning as he communtes by train to San Francisco from his home in Berkeley. He's a big fan of such digital books. Usually, there are around seven titles on his Treo, and he buys at least two new ones each month. It is just so versatile, he says. I've tried to convert some friends to this, but they think it's kind of geeky.

              Geeky? For now, maybe, but not for much longer. Many experts are convinced that digital books, after plenty of false starts, are finally ready for takeoff. Every other forms of media has gone digital——music, newspapers, movies, says Joni Evans, a top literary agent who just left the Willian Morris Agency to start her won company that will focus on books and technology. We're the only industry that hasn''t lived up to the pace of technology. A revolution is around the corner.

              What developments have won over people like Evans? Portable devices are becoming lighter and more appealing. Books are being scanned into digital form by the thousands. The most important step forward may be in digital ink, the technology used for displaying letters on a screen. A small company called E Ink has created a method for arranging tiny black and white capsules into words and images with an electronic charge. Because no power is used unless the reader changes the page, devices with the technology could go as long as 20 books between battery charges. The text also looks just as sharp as ink on a printed page, since each capsule is the size and pigment of a grain of laser-jet toner.

              Sony is the first major player to take advantage of the technology. This spring, it will debut the Sony Reader, which uses E Ink and closely mimics the size, weight, and feel of a book. The Reader will sell for about $ 400. Sony also will offer roughly 10,000 book titles for download from its online store, along with news stories and blog items.

              Other pklayers sniff opportunity, too. At least two more companies are introducing digital readers this year. And scorces of companies, from Google to Random House Inc., are angling for other ways to profit from digital books. Chalk it up to the influence of Apple Computer Inc…… With its Ipod, Apple has demonstrated that millions of people are willing to carry around digital devices with their favorite content. After music, why not novels and nonfiction? The iPod led the way in getting people comfortable with [a similar device for books], says Jack Romanos, CEO of Simon & Schuster Inc…… These things are not only inevitable, but a good idea.